Jessica Vermeer
14 April 2020

The AIRone respirator from Delft University of Technology is finished and works, reports Dutch news outlet Nieuwsuur. If the last test phase is completed successfully, the device can be taken into production later this week. The OperationAIR team expects to produce 500 devices by the end of April.

The team began working on their device mid-March, when the urgent need for ventilation modules became clear. Their goal was to develop a simple and relatively cheap ventilation device. “Most manufacturers take years to develop equipment. We did this within two-and-a-half weeks with students,” says TU Delft professor Jaap Harlaar, initiator of OperationAIR.

The functional prototype, attached to a mechanical lung. Credit: Delft University of Technology

An important demand was to get all essential components from Dutch suppliers. “To assemble quickly, you cannot depend on suppliers from abroad.” Apart from Delft, components are produced in Heemskerk, Veenendaal and Amsterdam, amongst others. The mass flow controllers are from Bronkhorst High-Tech in Ruurlo, whilst the control boards were produced by Interay Solutions in Burgum.

Earlier this week, a technical medical practitioner and an intensivist visited the team to assess the new device. They were impressed with what had been accomplished. The device is now in its very last test phase. Professor Harlaar is proud of his students. “I had high expectations of the project and these students, but they’ve even exceeded those. They’ve realized something that’s very complicated to do.”